How To Fix Uneven Shoulders
My client, a thirty-something woman, came for a regular therapy session. She complained of shoulder pain caused by years of poor posture. The problem was not just her shoulders’ rounded appearance; it also affected how she held her head, which gave her neck muscles too much work. When she sat down, her upper back curved forward from the weight of her head.
The first thing we did together was take a look at the whole picture. We talked about what had been causing this imbalance, then I asked her questions about when the pain started — how often it occurred? How long could she tolerate the discomfort before seeking medical attention? What brought on that particular moment? Was there anything specific that triggered the pain? Did any activities make it worse? Could she identify patterns or habits that created these symptoms? Then, based upon our discussion, we made some recommendations.
First, we worked on stretching out her tight neck and shoulders. Her shoulders were tense and overworked because they weren’t doing their job properly. Next, we focused on re-positioning her pelvis so her lower back wasn’t being forced to carry all her weight. This simple exercise helped to restore her natural curves and improve her posture. Afterward, we took a break to eat lunch while we discussed the changes we’d made. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: You seem pretty relaxed now. Are you noticing more ease in your shoulders?
Her: Yes! They feel better today than they have in months. It doesn’t hurt anymore.
Me: That’s great! So, tell me…what do you notice is different about your shoulders right after your treatment?
Her: My shoulders feel looser, lighter, and stronger. I can move them easier. There isn’t as much pain. It feels good.
Me: Good! That’s exactly what we’re going for here. When people come in for a therapy session, they usually want to see quick results. Let’s keep working toward those goals. Do you think you can continue coming once a week?
Her: Sure! Why wouldn’t I? (Laugh)
We both laughed because it was clear that she felt better already. In fact, she couldn’t wait until next time. If only everyone had such positive experiences with physical therapists! But even though it may sound funny, most people don’t laugh when they get stuck in a cycle of chronic pain. And the longer someone suffers, the harder it becomes to change.
So how does one fix uneven shoulders? There are several reasons why this happens. First, improper posture causes the chest muscles to pull inward. As a result, the shoulders become rounded and lose their ability to stabilize the spine. Second, muscles used for breathing don’t get enough air, leading to fatigue and shortness of breath. Thirdly, the diaphragm gets pushed up against the lungs, making it difficult to breathe deeply. All of these things contribute to general weariness.
When we talk about fixing uneven shoulders, we mean restoring proper function to the entire respiratory system. By taking steps to strengthen and stretch out the chest and shoulders, we also strengthen other parts of the body. When the body is strong, it has energy for movement. And when the body has energy, it is able to perform its best without burning out. A healthy mind and spirit go hand-in-hand with a healthy body.
One way to learn how to fix uneven shoulders is through yoga. Yoga helps us understand how the body works, promotes self-responsibility, teaches self-love, and creates harmony within the body. One of the main principles of yoga is “yoga postures” — poses designed to promote health and well-being. Each pose is carefully chosen to meet certain needs. For example, standing poses are especially beneficial for balancing strength throughout the body. On the other hand, seated poses are ideal if we want to relax and calm the nervous system.
Yoga focuses on strengthening the core area (the abdomen) instead of building bulk. Instead of focusing on muscle size, yoga emphasizes muscle tone and endurance. With this approach, the body learns to be healthier and stronger without losing its shape or becoming bulky.
Here are some tips to know when learning how to fix uneven shoulders:
Keep a notebook handy during sessions. Write down progress notes and pay close attention to your own body. It will serve as a reminder later.
Choose poses that target specific areas. Not every pose should be done to build strength throughout the body. Poses that engage the chest muscles are perfect for increasing lung capacity.
Do poses slowly. Don’t rush yourself. Take time to practice each pose.
Remember to breathe. Slow down and concentrate on deep breaths. Breathing correctly activates the parasympathetic nervous system (which slows the heart rate and regulates the digestive system).
Rest when needed. Resting allows the body to recover and rebuild.
Now let’s find out how to fix uneven shoulders using yoga poses. Here are two beginner poses that focus specifically on improving chest stability:
1. Supported Headstand – Beginners Level 1
This pose strengthens the arms, legs, ankles, and hips. It improves circulation and stimulates the abdominal organs.
Begin in a chair. Sit tall with the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Place hands under thighs. Lift the knees off the floor. Keep the elbows slightly bent. Press the palms together behind the ears, creating a slight bend in the elbows. Maintain a straight back and lift the sternum upward. Concentrate on lifting the chin away from the chest. Allow the forehead to rest against the top of the bony part of the skull. Gaze ahead along the sides of your nose. Stay in the Pose for approximately three minutes. Repeat five times daily.
2. Supported Side Angle – Beginners Level 2
Side bending exercises are extremely effective for relieving low back pain. Most of us spend hours sitting at desks, driving cars, or playing video games. Because of this activity, our backsides tend to round forward. By practicing Side Bends, we can counteract this tendency. This position opens the chest cavity, allowing deeper breathing. It also stretches the chest muscles, helping to reduce the effects of aging.
Sit in a comfortable upright position on the edge of a mat or chair. Fold your buttocks under. Wrap your bottom half around the outside of your extended leg. Extend your leg straight out in front of you. Hold onto your ankle with both hands. Keeping your torso steady, lean backward. Try to reach as far back as possible without straining your back. Remain in this position for three to five breaths. Come back to starting position, repeating side bends four times per day.
If you’re interested in learning how to fix uneven shoulders, check out yoga classes near you. Many local studios offer group classes on a weekly basis. Or try online options such as iVinyasa, Ekhart Yoga Studio, and Sivananda Yoga Video Center. If you prefer private instruction, consider hiring a certified personal trainer. He/she can teach you how to use weights effectively, safely, and efficiently.
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